Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Friday 28 June 2019 - Around Hoylake, and a visit to Hilbre Island

 
This was a walk taken from Jen Darling's 'More Pub Walks in Cheshire and Wirral'. Five of us - me, Cary, Jeanette, Paul and Laura assembled in Hale for a ride in P&J's Espace, to Royden Park (SJ 246 858) at Frankby near Hoylake.
 
It was a lovely, cloudless day. Soon after our 10am departure following an hour's drive, we passed a very active riding school where there were signposts to the 'Nose Bag Cafe'. Unable to resist the temptation, we sought out the refreshments from the café, which turned out to be the Larton Café.
 
(NB - for a slideshow, just click on an image and then scroll through the pictures.)
 
Various paths, mainly beside fields of crops such as broad beans, took us all the way to Hoylake.
 
En route, we passed China Plate Farm.

 
The coat of arms, the date of 1753, and the initials TIE appear on a plaque on the farmhouse, the plaque appearing to comprise a china plate.

 
Further on, after crossing several stiles, we discovered that not all of them were in current use.

 
Next to Kings Gap, in Hoylake, the Green Lodge Hotel could be worth a visit on a day when the weather was not so clement.

 
Kings Gap, to the right of the hotel, was apparently the route taken by the Royal escort for the purpose of boarding ships when Hoylake was a port from which armies sailed to Ireland.
 
In bygone days, when a giant sandbank created a deep water anchorage for sea going vessels, Hoylake was used by armies, such as the army of 10,000 men who in 1690 sailed to win the Battle of the Boyne under the command of William III - an event often blamed for the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland.
 
Our route turned left, passing impressive houses on the right, including this old lighthouse that has been incorporated into a private residence, and the prestigious Royal Liverpool Golf Course on the left, before reaching the beach.

 
The sands here are extensive. We went over to Hilbre Point for a look at Red Rocks, which appear below as a black smudge in the middle distance.

 
Here are the rest of the team on Hilbre Point.

 
Hilbre Island looked a long way off, but it was just 2 km across the firm sands left by the receding tide.

 
The sand was beautifully textured in places.

 
The next picture was taken as we were getting close to the island.

 
There were some puddles to negotiate. Cary paddled, the rest of us jumped.

 
Once on the island it's a short walk past fading Thrift and vibrant Bird's-foot Trefoil (amongst numerous wild flowers) to a sheltered picnic spot at the far end of the island in view of the inquisitive seal population. There were slightly hazy views to the skyscrapers of Liverpool in one direction, and the mountains of North Wales in the other direction.

 
The remains of a building and a boat ramp indicate that this may once, a long time ago, have been a lifeboat station.

 
We strolled back past the red rocks of Hilbre Island.


Hilbre Island does in fact incorporate a series of islands. We took a direct line to West Kirby, via the next island, imaginatively named 'Little Hilbre Island' - in view across a sandy causeway.

 
The walk along South Parade in West Kirby could have been varied by walking around the Marine Lake, but we were glad to be out of the stiff breeze, and most of us appreciated an ice cream.
 
We continued along the coast by way of a lovely woodland path, The Wirral Way, that follows the course of a disused railway. Calm, warm, green and very lush in here.

 
Eventually we turned away from the coast to return to our starting point via the pretty village of Caldy, reached via a lovely sandstone track bordered by a high wall.
 
There's a war memorial next to the church, and an impressive old house the other side of the church.



The remainder of the route took us along pleasant bridleways through mixed woodland and past impressive 'footballers' mansions'. My companions for the day kindly posed for me in the sun dappled light of Stapledon Wood, from where easy paths led back to Royden Park via a short break to finish our provisions and for Jeanette to receive a back massage.

 
Here's our route (click on the map for a bigger version). It was a shade over 20 km, with 150 metres ascent, taking us well under six hours, including breaks.

 
A lovely day out. Thanks for your company, folks. There will be a short walk around Styal next Friday, but I won't be organising one the following Friday.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Friday 21 June 2019 - The Old Man of Coniston Circuit - Some Photos

 
My posting relating to our walk up The Old Man of Coniston, see here, was restricted to the four images allowed to me by mobile blogging. Insert more pictures than that and the posting simply disappears. I've learnt the hard way!
 
So here are a few more images to illustrate that excellent walk. To view them as a slideshow, just click on any image and scroll through the pictures.
 
We drove up to the Swan at Newby, for posh coffee on a lovely morning.

 
The car park at the end of the Walna Scar Road tarmac is where the walk started.

 
The dominant plant in the verges of the track that's the continuation of the Walna Scar Road is, at this time of year, the foxglove.

 
An air force plane flew up the Coniston valley, some way below us.

 
Here's Sue heading on up the road, with our first summits in view.

 
There's a bridge to cross. The stream was hardly in spate, but it did provide a nice foreground to the view across Coniston to Grizedale and beyond.


 
Here's a panoramic view of the route ahead, with Brown Pike on the left and The OMC on the right. 

 
Our elevenses rock provided more good views in the direction of Coniston Water and beyond.

 
Brown Pike was our first summit (682 metres).

 
From Brown Pike there's a good view back to the high point of the Walna Scar Road, with the Duddon Valley beyond.

 
Now on Buck Pike, 744 metres, here's a panorama towards the Scafell summits, with Dow Crag on the far right.

 
The path to Dow Crag reveals fine views to Goat's Water and The OMC.

 
Dow Crag has a rocky summit - 778 metres.

 
We took the path you can see on the far right, and headed up The OMC, on a rising path with this fine view back to Dow Crag.

 
Once on the 803 metre summit of The Old Man of Coniston, (see the picture of Sue at the head of this posting) we were spoilt for choice with the views down to Low Water and Coniston village.

 
We enjoyed lunch with this magnificent panorama.

 
The descent was on the busy 'tourist' path, with remnants of the mountain's mining heritage close at hand by way of hawsers and tunnels and other artefacts.

 
The circuit finished with a very pleasant stroll on an easy path back to the car park.

 
We visited Jim and Cathy. We are envious of this view from their garden.


Jim and Cathy were in their second or third year at UMIST when I started a degree course there in 1967.

 
Here's the route Sue and I took - a shade under 11 km, with about 750 metres ascent, taking nearly 4 hours.


A fine day out. I hope you enjoy these pictures taken on a near perfect day.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Day minus 1



Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
 
Day -1 - Saturday 24 July 2004 (by Sue)

An early start - a sign of things to come? Tea at 6.30, then a list of tasks to complete before we could leave for London Colney. For me, it was packing, after obligatory photo of kit (above), then a haircut that would have to last for over eight weeks, then a leg wax. Martin's list was somewhat longer and was more domestic - plant watering, shutting windows, and last minute additions to the website.

Martin collected our Alamo Astra from the airport and ticked off a couple more jobs in Altrincham. Our prepared picnic of sausage sandwiches was eaten at home and after last minute emails to alert folk to the website changes, we left home just after 2 pm.

Manchester was only 18°C and cloudy, but after a three hour journey, including a cup of tea at Corley, we arrived in the warmer (24°C) and sunnier climes of London Colney. Spent a pleasant evening playing in the garden with Jacob (Sue's nephew), whilst Alex mixed building materials and Helen and Martin prepared a barbecue and salad. Gin and tonics preceded an al fresco dinner, until it got chilly and it was Jake's bath time. That was my job, but it meant I had a bath as well. After stories, he finally went to sleep after 9.30. We weren't too long after that, after a glass of red wine and some TV.


Start of Trip
Next Day

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Pyrenees HRP - 2004 - Prologue


Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Prologue
In 2004 I left my job and Sue took a six month sabbatical. I'd already walked the central section of the Haute Route Pyrenées (HRP) in three separate trips, from Lescun to Andorra, in 1990, 1993 and 1994. My ambition was to walk the entire route, which follows the border between France and Spain in the High Pyrenees between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, in one trip. It would take us about eight weeks; flights were booked, leaving home on 24 July and returning on 21 September. Julie Brown was organised to join us for the section from Gavarnie.

Whilst my subsequent
GR10 (France) and GR11 (Spain) traverses of the Pyrenees were recorded on these pages, the HRP trip preceded 'Postcard from Timperley'. We did however record our passage by way of a rudimentary sort of 'blog'. That involved sending a daily text message to my daughter Kate, who periodically entered the text into a spreadsheet that was published on topwalks.com. That spreadsheet is still on the website, as is the summary of the trip that was transcribed from the postcards we sent whenever we had the opportunity.

No charger was taken for the Nokia phone, and the battery was still going strong at the end of the trip!

This year, 2019, we have no 'big trip' planned, so I'm hoping to enjoy re-living the 2004 trip, which was the first time I'd been away  from home for more than four weeks, and only the second time I'd been away for more than two weeks - so recollections of that four week trip - in the mid 1970s - is another project.

So for the next few weeks or months, diary entries for our current activities may be interspersed with recollections under a 'Pyrenees 2004' label. You don't have to read them, and some of the entries may be a little tedious, but you are most welcome to share in my indulgence.

I'll be trying to insert some pictures - this was a pre-digital trip so we have negatives and CDs that we got at the time the Fujifilm was processed. I'll also add some route maps using more recently acquired Anquet and Viewranger software.


The picture shown above is of the Georges Véron definitive guide book published by West Col Publications in 1991, our 'bible' for this trip.

Next posting

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Monday 24 June 2019 - A Bike Ride - TPT/Cheshire Ring Circuit

 
Monday morning: = a bike ride.
 
With none of my usual companions available I chose the 60km Trans Pennine Trail/Cheshire Ring circuit, leaving soon after 8 am in order to avoid the rain that arrived just as I returned home at midday. It's over six months since I last took this route - on 5 November last year - though the shorter Fallowfield Loopline route has been taken a few times since then, one of them being recorded here.
 
Of note, from the towpath, was a huge barge named Pauline, pictured above crossing the River Mersey in Stretford, with the M60 motorway in the background and the Metrolink tram line to the left. If you wait for a while at this bridge you should spot the seemingly unlikely sight of Kingfishers in this urban environment.
 
Attempts to converse with the skipper drew a smile but no voice - perhaps English wasn't his native language. Some sections of the Bridgewater Canal might be a bit tight for this vessel. I wonder where it is now? In the Irish sea?

 
I was pleased to find the towpath closures in the Ashton area were no longer an obstacle to progress, though the Canal & River Trust have closed the path in the centre of Manchester near lock number 89, so a short road section was needed to get from there to the Castlefield Basin. Not really a problem, and only a very small proportion, maybe 3km, of this 60km route is on roads. Most of this is near Stockport town centre, where I have yet to discover a good off-road route. I'm sure there is one.

 
Here's today's route - on this occasion I took the path beside the Mersey rather than go into Didsbury on the TPT. With just one tea and banana break at Haughton Green shortly before the route joins the Peak Forest Canal, it took me a little under four hours as I eschewed the attractions of the Velodrome café in favour of avoiding the rain.